NSW man dies in a Sydney hospital as the White Island death toll rises to 16, & more in News in 5.

– With AAP. 

1. A NSW man dies in a Sydney hospital as the White Island death toll rises to 16.

The death toll from New Zealand’s deadly White Island volcano eruption has risen to 16 over the weekend, with 10 of them Australian.

On Sunday, an Australian victim caught in the deadly blast died in Sydney’s Concord Hospital, a week after the disaster. The man’s family requested that his name and age was not released.

New Zealand police also released the names of seven more people who died in the tragedy.

They are Adelaide schoolgirl Zoe Hosking, 15, her stepfather Gavin Dallow, 53, Karla Mathews, 32, and Sydney man Anthony Langford, 51.

Sydney high school students and brothers Matthew and Berend Hollander, 13 and 16, were also named, as was Melbourne woman Krystal Eve Browitt, 21.

A further two people remain missing, with their bodies believed to be in the waters around White Island.

white island new zealand volcano
The White Island volcano erupted one week ago. Ten Australians are now confirmed dead from the eruption. Image AAP.

A recovery team returned to New Zealand's White Island on Sunday morning but was unable to retrieve the remains of two people still missing from the eruption.

An earlier NSW Health update on Sunday morning listed five NSW residents in Concord Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital as in critically ill condition.

Three patients evacuated from New Zealand to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne remain in a critical condition.


There are now three NSW victims in stable conditions at local hospitals.

Some 47 people, including 24 Australian citizens and four permanent residents, were on the island when the volcano erupted last Monday.

2. McDonald's fires franchisee after a video of him questioning his neighbour's Indigenous heritage goes viral.

A McDonald's franchisee has lost his job, after he abused his neighbour over his Indigenous heritage, and forcibly tried to remove his Aboriginal flag while saying "it's a disgrace".

A video, which has since gone viral, shows artist Robby Wirramanda Knight being attacked by his neighbours Robert Vigors and Karen Ridge.

"Which half of you is Aboriginal? You are not Aboriginal," Ridge said.

"You claiming to be Aboriginal? You make me laugh. People like you make a mockery of true Aboriginals," Vigors added, among a number of other racist comments.

McDonald's has since fired Vigors, who was the manager of the franchise in Mildura.

"McDonald’s confirms the company has taken over the operation of the Mildura and Irymple restaurants, effective immediately, and Robert Vigors has left the system and is no longer involved," they said in a statement.

"The comments made are unacceptable and do not reflect the beliefs of the company as an inclusive workplace for our employees and customers. The matter is currently under investigation."

3. Qantas passengers are forced to evacuate after cabin fills with smoke.

Passengers on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Perth have evacuated via slides after the Airbus A330 was forced to return as the cabin filled with smoke.


Qantas said flight 575 returned to Sydney shortly after takeoff on Sunday morning due to a hydraulic issue.

"Once back at the gate, the captain made the decision to evacuate the aircraft as a precaution and three emergency slides were deployed," the airline said in a statement.

"Passengers were evacuated through both the slides and normal exits."

One passenger described the incident on Twitter as "terrifying".

"Just had to evacuate my flight to Perth after engineering issues. Everyone had to exit the plane via slide onto Sydney tarmac after the cabin filled with smoke and the captain screamed evacuate," she tweeted.

Another passenger, Sydney mechanic Rahman Akbari, told The Daily Telegraph the captain appeared calm but it was a "little bit" scary when the crew began yelling "evacuate, evacuate" on the tarmac.

"Initially it was just the smell, we could smell something but after a few minutes this fume starting building up in the cabin," he told the newspaper.

Qantas says engineers are inspecting the aircraft and more information will be made available shortly.

4. Lives and homes are still at risk from out-of-control blazes in Western Australia.

Thousands of properties have been saved from a bushfire raging out-of-control north of Perth but authorities say the threat isn't over.

The Yanchep blaze remains at an emergency warning after firefighters protected more than 6000 homes from the near-12,000 hectare blaze.

One house and a Yanchep service station are confirmed to have been lost.

"If you look at where the fires have gone, it is absolutely astonishing that we haven't lost more than one house," Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan told reporters on Sunday.

But communities are warned to remain vigilant, with Perth and the fire area forecast to reach 40C for the third day running.


Lives and properties are under threat at Guilderton, Woodridge, Gabbadah, Wilbinga, Caraban, Seabird, Yeal, Redfield Park, Sovereign Hill, Seatreets and Breakwater Estates.

Parts of Two Rocks, Neergabby, Yanchep, Gnangara-Moore River State Forest, Moore River National Park and the Yeal Nature Preserve are also covered by the warning.

A watch and act warning is in place for parts of Yanchep, Two Rocks, Breton Bay, Seabird, as well as parts of Gabbadah, Wanerie, Ledge Point and Eglinton.

"(It's) reasonably calm at the moment," Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said.

"But this afternoon we're going to have both the north and the north-eastern sections of this fire ... come under pressure from the southerly and then the south-westerly wind."

"The threat hasn't passed."

Evacuation centres have been set up at the Gumblossom Community Centre at Quinns Rocks and the Granville Civic Centre at Gingin, where community meetings have been scheduled.

Four schools - Two Rocks Primary School, Yanchep Primary School, Yanchep Beach Primary School and Yanchep Secondary College - will be closed on Monday.

Nearly 260 Two Rocks households have lost power and it's unclear when it will be safe to repair the network.

Crews are working to restore power to 12 homes at Yanchep.

There had been concerns water supplies to some fire-affected areas could be cut off but this has not eventuated.

However, internet and mobile phone services have been disrupted at Two Rocks and Yanchep.

Another emergency warning remains in place for a separate blaze at Yourdamung Lake, northeast of Bunbury.

It covers an area bounded by Baroda Road to the north, Norm Road to the south, Collie-Tallanalla Road to the west and Collie-Williams Road to the east.


A watch and act is also in place for the same fire, between Norm Road in the north, Hull Road, Booth Street and Lintoft Road to the south, Harris River Road to the west and Collie-Williams Road to the east.

5. Jetstar has cancelled over 50 flights amid union staff strike.

Jetstar has cancelled more than 50 flights as union staff at the low-budget airline continue rolling strikes across the country.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots says the union's Jetstar pilots will undertake four-hour work stoppages on Sunday.

Jetstar has cancelled 54 flights in advance to minimise disruption to travellers, according to a travel alert issued by the company.

A similar strike on Saturday caused the proactive cancellation of more than 40 flights.

The pilots' action comes after baggage handlers and ground staff stopped work on Friday at Sydney Airport, Melbourne's Tullamarine and Avalon airports, and in Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide.

Staff are striking in protest over pay and health and safety concerns they say the airline has not addressed.

Jetstar says the strikes are "unjustifiable" and "cynically timed to hurt travellers at the busiest time of the year".

Workers who walked off the job on Friday have pledged to do it again next Thursday should their demands not be met.

The company says customers travelling from December 13 to December 20 can request a full refund prior to flying.

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